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LTC visitors important for residents' mental health: CanAge

CanAge is a non-profit advocacy organization for seniors in Canada
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Long-term care homes not experiencing an outbreak can now open up to a limited amount of visitors -- and this could help secure the mental wellbeing of seniors living in those care facilities.

That's according to the CEO of CanAge, Laura Tamblyn Watts, who says it is important to allow LTCs to open up to more than one visitor if the care facility is not experiencing an active outbreak.

"What we don't want to have is doors completely open with no supports in infection control, and have staff overwhelmed. But it is important to remember that visits are as critically important to older people who are residents of long-term care in many ways, as any other type of medical care that they may be recieving."

She says the government should be working with caregivers and LTCs to ensure proper training and supports are in place at an ongoing basis.

"The second wave is just around the corner. How do we make sure that we get the investments from the government that we need to work with caregivers so that we don't ever have what we have had happen again, which is older people locked up in their own rooms, without being able to move or see anyone for upwards of four months at a time."

Watts says for some people, and especially for seniors, social isolation can be as damaging as getting the virus.

"Without those opportunities to connect with people, exchange with people and to really have those relationships, people decline. They don't just decline from loneliness or depression, although those are serious and bad enough -- they decline physically and they decline mentally."

CanAge is a non-profit advocacy organization for seniors in Canada.




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